Matt 18:3-4 And He said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." NIV
What, maybe we should read that again! This statement is clear, concise and somewhat provocative. It does not leave any room for debate. In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, all of us need to change and become like little children. If that is the case, and it is, then we better know in what way we are to become childlike. Our eternal destiny depends upon it.
The statement follows an inquiry. Jesus’ disciples ask Him a simple question. “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Even though Jesus has given them many clues that His kingdom will not be set up on earth at this time, they have not understood and have continued to concern themselves with what position they will have in God’s earthly kingdom (Read Mt 20:22).
By the answer Jesus gives, it is evident that they have asked the wrong question. Their question indicates that their reasons for following Jesus clearly have the wrong priority. Even after seeing Jesus give of Himself in service to all who have come to Him, they have not grasped His mission and purpose. They are more concerned with themselves than in serving those around them. Jesus tells them that they need to change the way they think and respond to Him the way a child does.
In what way do they and we need to change? The answer is found in verse four. Whoever humbles himself is the greatest in God’s kingdom. This is how we need to change. This is how we are to come to Christ and live in Christ, with a humble heart and a contrite spirit.
Ps 51:17 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. NASU
Isa 66:2 "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. NASU
A little child comes to their parents with complete trust that their needs will be met. They are not concerned about their position in the family, but want to please their parents. They just desire to be part of their family and be safe and protected in the arms of their parents.
It is a change of heart that Jesus is telling His disciples they must have, in order to enter His kingdom. In light of this, we must ask ourselves some important questions. When we asked Christ to be our Lord and Savior, did we humble ourselves as little children? Were we putting our complete trust in Him, just as a child does? Are we willing to follow Him in whatever direction He wants to take us? Is our desire to be like Jesus, humbly serving as He did?
There are many people who seem to think that being a Christian is all about “getting their needs met” here on earth. That is the attitude that the disciples were rebuked for. That doesn’t mean that we don’t receive blessings or that we don’t get our needs met. We certainly do. But Jesus tells us not to worry about those things and that our loving, Heavenly Father will take care of those needs, but instead we are to seek first His kingdom (Mt 6:33).
The apostle Paul puts it this way in Phil 2:3-7 “but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” NASU
I pray that this is the attitude of heart that we all have. If we do, we need never worry about who will be the greatest in the kingdom. It will be more than enough to be with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ forever and ever, Amen!
God bless you